LXIX. May/June 1986 No. 3
"Is there no balm in Gilead?
Gilead was a place of aromatics and was termed a
"mountain of spices:" Jacob first called the place Gilead
because of the covenant made between him and his father-in-law Laban in
that place. It is written that he "... set
his face toward the mount Gilead (Gen.
31:21). The expression was evidently one of anticipation, a
determination to reach that place, for upon arriving there he made no
effort to continue his journey. He remained there until overtaken by Laban,
as though assured in advance that a treaty of peace and reconciliation
would be made between Laban and himself and that the balm of friendship
would be poured upon the sore of enmity that had existed between them.
Gilead was very fruitful. Both the necessities and
the luxuries of life were to be found there, and in bountiful supply. It
was a city which yielded profits and pleasures, being filled with people.
God, in the Psalms, said, "Gilead is mine" (Psa.
60:7; Psa. 108:8). Many
strangers resorted to Gilead to profit by its commerce; this we find
referred to in the account of Joseph being sold by his brethren into
For the purposes of our discussion we note that when
Jeremiah made this reference he was not referring to,
-- the physical condition of Israel,
-- the natural balm contained in the balsam tree of
-- the physicians of the natural body.
Instead of these, we find that Jeremiah used the
"Balm of Gilead" in reference to the moral condition of fleshly
Israel, even as we would use it in reference to the heart condition of
Israel after the spirit.
The Balm Still Exists
The balm of the Word of the Lord was still to be
found in Gilead. There were still competent physicians of that word,
valiant prophets of God who would have skillfully applied the healing
balm, who would have gladly ministered to the sickness of Israel.
Why then was Israel not recovered? Simply because she
did not inquire of the true physicians: those who had the healing balm,
who since the world began had preached judgment and restitution. Israel
had hewn out for herself "cisterns,
broken cisterns, that [could] hold
no water" (Jer. 2:13). She did not resort to those true prophets
or physicians who held the balm or Word of God. She appointed and
hearkened to a false priesthood who were no longer repositories for the
true word of God, but who had become broken cisterns that could hold no
This is why Israel was not recovered and
substantiation for this view can be found in Scripture (See, Hos. 8:11-14;
Ps. 74:4-9; Mal. 2:7,8; Ezek. 22:7,8,12,25-28).
In the concluding portion of Ezekiel 22:28 we note
the following: "And her
prophets have daubed them with untempered mortar...." How
significant, how full of meaning is this statement! Instead of the rightly
tempered, perfectly balanced balm which would have been applied by the
true prophets of God, these false prophets daubed with untempered mortar.
Their's was no longer a soothing, healing balm. By their removal of the
spirit from God's law, that law had lost its temper; it had become a dead,
lifeless letter. It had become unbalanced; and these false prophets,
instead of having the true balm with which to heal, daubed with untempered
mortar which rendered the recovery of Israel impossible.
Is this not what we
see today? Among today's religious teachers there are those who
attempt to instruct and teach the people but who are themselves lacking
in a knowledge of the truths of the Bible. There are those who have great
knowledge of the Scriptures, but they lack the love and spirit of those
Scriptures and yet they attempt to teach others. These are daubers of
untempered mortar, just like those false healers of Israel. Let us avoid
either of these extremes. Let us be balanced dispensers of the balm of
Gilead, the precious Word of God.
Judgment came upon Israel for her neglect of the balm
placed in Gilead; for her neglect of the physicians there to be found.
Gilead, together with Mount Zion, the holy Sanctuary, was given as a prey
to the Romans. The fruitful land was turned into barrenness and it was
polluted with the blood of her people. Jehovah, who had once said "Gilead is mine ..." (Psa. 60:7) now has a
different story to tell of her. Through the Prophet Hosea he says: "Gilead
is a city of them that work iniquity, and is polluted with blood" (Jer.
Lessons from the Balsam Tree
The balsam tree of Gilead had medicinal virtue all
through the wood or tree itself, the seed of the tree, and the sap of the
tree. In the wood, or the tree itself, we have a beautiful picture of the
Word of God. The balsam tree was a saving, healing tree; the Word of God
as expressed in Jesus and the Scriptures is the only means of salvation,
either for the church or for the world of mankind.
The balsam tree seed well pictures the seed of the
new nature; a seed that through the operation of the Holy Spirit is
generated within a tabernacle of flesh, which like the seed of the balsam
tree, when planted in the ground, germinates and brings forth. What a
beautiful picture it presents of our begettal by the Holy Spirit as new
creatures and an earnest, if we shall continue faithful, of the new birth
to come. That birth shall be not from corruptible seed; not a mortal seed
which contains the possibility of corruption within itself, and which
under the reign of sin and death must finally eventuate in death and
decay. The Apostle Peter describes this seed saying: "Being
born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word
of God, which liveth and abideth forever" (1
sap of the balsam tree we have a beautiful picture of
the holy Spirit circulating through God's Word. Even as the sap of the
balsam tree of Gilead circulating through that tree imparted life and
vitality to it, so the holy Spirit circulating through the Word of God
imparts life and vitality and generating power to it. Without that spirit
the Word would be a dead letter of knowledge, fit for the head but a
misfit for the heart, and no more than sounding brass and a tinkling
cymbal (1 Cor. 13:1).
As the sap of the balsam tree generates or causes
the seed of that tree to form, so the holy Spirit operating within our
minds and hearts generates the seed of a new nature, fertilizing,
sustaining, nourishing, and promoting its welfare until triumphantly it
shall emerge from its womb of flesh.
The leaves of the balsam tree of Gilead were white
and were thickly distributed over its branches, literally covering the
tree and giving it a white appearance. This might properly picture the
covering robe of Christ's righteousness and the purity and spotlessness
of the Word of God. We read: "The
words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth,
purified seven times" (Ps. 12:6) and "Every word of God is pure: he is
shield unto them that put their trust in him" (Prov.
The balm of Gilead had a sharp, biting taste, but
was wholesome to the digestion. How like unto the Word of God, which is
indeed sharp and unsavory to the unregenerated appetite. We read that it
was folly to the Jews and a stumbling block to the gentiles, but to the
chosen ones of both Jews and gentiles it was the power of God unto
salvation (1 Cor. 1:22-23). Often the truth is sour to the taste, but
afterwards it becomes sweet.
There is a class who have tasted and seen that the
Lord is good (1 Pet. 2:3). These, in days gone by, have experienced the
healing power of the balm of God's Word, but for various reasons have
again become sick. They refuse to apply that precious balm for their
recovery. They have become deaf to the warnings of the Holy Spirit; they
are in the attitude of crucifying the Lord afresh and of putting him to an
open shame (Heb. 6:6). To this group a solemn warning has come through the
Prophet Isaiah: "Woe unto
them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light,
and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for
bitter" (Isa. 5:20)! Such a course if persisted in can have only
one final ending.
The Sympathizing Jesus
The balsam tree of Gilead exudes or weeps a kind of
gum very much in the form of tears, a picture of the tears of grief and
sympathy shed by Jesus, that Word which was made flesh and dwelt among us
(John 1:14). We see him over Jerusalem, as he grieved and wept over her.
We hear those sweet words of pathos:
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the
prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have
gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her
wings, and ye would not" (Luke 13:34)!
Behold him at the grave of Lazarus! With a heart full
of sympathy for those sorrowing sisters, the emotion of grief gripped him
and he wept tears of sympathy (John 11:35).
The balsam tree of Gilead was first granted to one
land: Judea. From there it was introduced to other peoples. It was first
taken to them by merchants of Judea. So it was with the Word of God: it
was first given to the Israelites. "He
showeth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.
He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they
have not known them" (Ps. 147:19-20).
remember Jesus expressly commanding his disciples not to go into the way
of the Gentiles nor any city of the Samaritans, but only to the lost sheep
of the house of Israel (Matt. 10:6). But when the time came for the
spiritual balm of Gilead to go to other nations and to other peoples, it
was even as with the natural balm of Gilead: it was taken to them by
Jewish spiritual merchants. We refer to two Jewish evangelists, Paul and
"Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It
was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you:
but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of
everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles" (Acts 13:46).
Grew Only in the King's Garden
Historians tell us that when the first balsam tree
grew in Judea it was permitted to grow only in the king's garden.
Subjects of the king had full access to the balm for their needs and
sicknesses, but they were not permitted to control the output of the
balm or of the balsam tree itself. So it is with the spiritual balm, the
Word of God. This balm is not of men. Nor did it originate with man. This
balm came from heaven; it was given to man through Jesus and the apostles
and through the prophets by whom it was preached since the world began.
Historians not only tell us that it was only
permitted to grow in the king's garden, but that it grew in two orchards
of those gardens. The king's gardens were laid out in two parts. One of
these orchards was larger and finer than the other. What a beautiful
picture of that day so soon to come when there will be two phases of God's
kingdom in operation: the heavenly, the larger or greater phase of that
kingdom, and the lesser or earthly phase of that kingdom. Both will be
glorious. From both phases of that kingdom shall flow the healing balm of
the even-balanced, even-tempered Word of God. Isaiah says of that time: "They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and
they that murmured shall learn doctrine" (Isa. 29:24) A day is
coming when the spirit of love and the truths of the Bible will go hand
in hand. It will be a rightly tempered, perfectly balanced gospel, not
It has been written of the balm of Gilead that it was
recommended for the breaking up or dissolving of stones or calcium
formations in the body. Again, what a picture this is of the spiritual
balm. God's Word has power to break up and dissolve the hardest of all
formations in man or woman: a stony heart. Jeremiah, says: "Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer
that breaketh the rock in pieces" (Jer. 23:29)? In Ezekiel we
read "A new heart also will I
give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the
stony heart out of your flesh, and 1 will give you an heart of flesh"
The Great Physician is Now Near
Today a distraught world is casting about for healing
balm. Her concoctions fail to bring peace, fail to bring healing to the
sickness of the peoples of the earth. She seeks for balm, but refuses to
seek it in Gilead; she seeks a physician, but refuses to seek for him in
Gilead. She refuses the only Physician who can heal all her diseases.
Communism, socialism, and other "isms" will
be tried by a despairing, dying world. All these failing to bring about
healing, this world will finally gaze on its discarded mound of broken
cisterns, even as did Israel after the flesh, even as did many Israelites
after the spirit. The nations of this present evil world will heap to
themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.
As final destruction descends upon her, some will cry
out: "Lord, save us: we
perish" (Matt. 8:25). To those will be granted an opportunity of
life in the next age ". . . wherein
dwelleth righteousness" (2
Pet. 3:13). And as the great Physician is then seen pointing the way
to the healing balm, to those who shall have been delivered from the
besieged city, who shall have been delivered from the power of Satan, he
will be seen pointing toward literal Gilead, the Gilead of old, for from
Palestine shall the word of the Lord go forth, and the healing balm for
every ill (Micah 4:2).
Jeremiah's Cry Goes Forth Today
We sometimes wonder if there are those who, coming
among the Lord's people, ever have occasion to ask of us the question of
Jeremiah, "Is there no balm in Gilead?" This question might come
from some lonely heart or it may come from some seeker after truth and
righteousness. Has such an one ever come to us in search of the balm of
Gilead and gone away without receiving it? To this question each one of us
should give serious thought.
And then again, in those all too rare moments of
self-examination, does that question come to each one of us? How about our
heart and mind? Is the balm of Gilead to be found there? Is the true and
great Physician reigning within our hearts? Does he hold individual sway
Let us hold fast those spiritual blessings that
have been bequeathed to us. Let us remember that we wrestle not with flesh
and blood. Our great adversary is watching spiritual Israel at this time
as never before. If we let down our guard, he will be sure to reach some
So let us shine as lights in a dark place. Thus will
we be living epistles "... known
and read of all men" (2 Cor. 3:2); so shall we fight the good
fight of faith; so shall we lay hold on eternal life (1 Tim. 6:12); so
shall we at last be caught up to that heavenly phase of the king's garden,
from where we shall be used in assisting the world up from sickness to
health, from death to life, and from destitution to restitution.
Peace is love in flower -- it is love reposing on the
green pastures and beside the still waters. It is that sweet restfulness
that we can leave everything in the Father's hand and be satisfied. I
believe that "everything" means every
thing, and that nothing is excluded. Peace is that calm confidence
that trusts the Lord's goodness and wisdom "at
all times" (Psa. 34:1). It is the abiding sense of his love that
does not lose heart because others are disturbed or unreasonable. It is
the "very" peace of
God put into the heart. Can that be ruffled because circumstances are
trying or because people don't suit us or because our wills are crossed?
No! God's peace is not a happy sensation coming now and then. God's peace
is an abiding thing, a habit of soul and mind which makes the possessor
wondrously independent of man.
"Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts." -
In nature, deep is continually calling unto deep.
-- The depths of the clouds call to the depths of the
-- The sea responds and permits the sun's rays to
pick up water from its surface and carry it to the clouds, and thence by
the winds to the thirsty land.
-- It is true also when the waterspout strikes the
-- There are deep things in the tree that call to
deep things in the soil and in the air. The tree's cells must be
nourished, and consequently they call out for sustenance.
The deep things of science call out to those who have
the depth of intelligence to appreciate them. The orbs of space and the
vast interstellar spaces call out to the astronomer. Various laminated and
fossilized deposits call out to the geologist. The aligned forces of
gravity, heat, and electricity call out to the chemist. The diseases that
are deep seated in the human body call out to the pathologist and the
therapist. Deep things of the mind invite the attention of the psychologist.
But the deepest of deep things are those things that
are spiritually deep, and the deepest capacities are those that enable us
to respond to the things of the spirit. "The
spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."
Truth is fact. Such fact may be self evident, a
truism, or it may lie deep down. When James Watt saw steam lifting the lid
of the teakettle, he beheld a
simple thing which had been seen but unexplored by millions of persons
before him. It took much searching before the steam engine was invented as
a result of discovering the expansive power of steam. Then came the
further idea that ships might be propelled by steam, and Robert Fulton
concentrated all his energies to bring this to pass.
It is easy to permit ourselves to think that we have
been given the last word of truth and that there is nothing else to be
found out. This of course is a colossal mistake. Yet there are those who
resent all advanced revelations. If one enjoys such revelations and is living
close to the Lord, he will become a target for shafts of criticism even
from some of his friends. This is especially true if he is thoroughly
honest and outspoken. It is not always wise to tell all that one knows.
Jesus said, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them
now" (John 16:12). There are occasions when it is good to be
silent. Advanced truth can be received only by those whose minds have been
prepared to receive it. If soil is not soft and porous it will not absorb
the rain. Truth cannot be forced on anyone.
Eventually, people find their true level. The jackdaw
in the peacock's feathers was only a jackdaw after all. Tares in the garb
of wheat are still tares; and wolves in sheep's clothing are still wolves.
The frog need not pretend that he can fly like the eagle; yet he is all
right in the pond, which is where he belongs. That is a fact which he must
see in order to be true to himself. At least, he must not desire to be
elsewhere. Unless one has clear vision, he misses many things as he goes
To be able to see that what is true is true and that
what is false is false is a wonderful faculty to possess. We note with
curiosity that it is also an ability which a comparatively few people
possess. This is expressed in Hebrews 5:14: "But
strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by
reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both [the real] good
and [the real] evil." As, for instance, between sectarianism and brotherly
love and tolerance.
Truth is perceived by the majority of men when it is
superficial and obvious, not when it is deep and hidden. Such recognize
it when it is a fruit that hangs conspicuously on the bough; whereas the
truth-seeker looks deeper. He knows
that the most precious fruit lies inside the nut and that the nut has to
be cracked before the kernel can be secured. The parables of Jesus
usually have superficial meanings of moral and ethical worth but contain
truths of still greater value, packed, like the kernel of a nut, inside
All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in
parables, and without a parable spake he not unto them; that it might be
fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in
parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the
foundation of the world (Matt. 13:34,35).
The deep things of God called to the deeps of the
mind of our Lord; and his words have been calling to the deeps of the
minds of his people throughout the age.
Some day, when the deeps below call to the deeps
above, the ocean of divine love will roll over the world. But now, that
love has touched only certain individual lives, and this because there
has been a calling and a response. "No
man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him,"
(John 6:44) said the Master. But he also said,
"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy
laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and by burden is light" (Matt. 11:28-30).
The Calling of God
God's calling has been different from every other
call. He calls upon faith in the hearer to accept the evidences of faith
upon his part, to step beyond the threshold of tangible and visible
things, to recognize the fact that "things
which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are
eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18). Faith, therefore, is connected with the deep things of God.
Love is another of the deep things of God. Has anyone ever reached the
measure of the depths of divine love? The cross of Jesus comes nearest to
measuring this love.
If Jesus Came Today
Jesus in person manifested divine love in its various
elements. In the exercise of love he was humble, devout, simple, strong,
calm, pure, sympathetic, analytic, patient, poised, denunciatory of
hypocrisy and sham. Had the world received the words of love that fell
from the lips of Jesus, we should have had a new world ere this. But
jealousy got the upper hand of love. If Jesus were here today, he would be
as surely rejected as he was over nineteen centuries ago.
We observe that men do not care to think deeply,
preferring to take things at face value, particularly in religious
matters. To wear the spectacles of our grandfathers, or of trusted
leaders, is much easier than to accept the invitation, "Come,
let us reason together, saith Jehovah" (Isa. 1:18). "... the
spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." It is
the possession of the spirit and unreserved yielding to its leadings
that makes the difference. He who has the spirit is looking for
treasure not to be found on the surface. With pickax, shovel, and spade he
removes his coat and goes to work in the mines of God to find precious
God must possess that final, absolute, and ultimate
knowledge that does not change. God knows the truth of all things, and the
truth of all things is a fixed and changeless quantity. There was a time
when man did not know certain facts about electricity, but God knew all
the facts. It may be that electricity, or nuclear power for that matter,
will be used in ways not now known. But if so, God knows all about it. God
knows the potency of faith as we do not; and Jesus knew it, for he said, "7f ye have faith, even as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say
unto this mountain, Be thou removed and cast into the sea, and it shall be
done" (see Matt. 17:20; 21:21; Mark 11:23). And God knows the
indomitable power of love. God's love may be compared to the ocean. An
earthquake may change the bed of a stream, and the wind and the sun may
dry up a shallow pool, but the ocean is still there in all its profound
depths. He who possesses the spirit of truth will sooner or later discover
how vast is the ocean of truth. He will then probably feel like Sir Isaac
Newton, who said he was, as a little boy, walking along the shore and
picking up here a bright pebble and there a pretty shell, while the mighty
ocean of truth lay all un-explored before him. Now men attempt to go into
that sea to dive below to learn of its mysteries.
Many who call themselves Christians are but babes
in Christ. They have never penetrated the deep things of God. With them it
is a matter of accepting Christ and being saved, or of rejecting him and
being lost. They have never delved down, have never examined the
philosophy of such a proposition, have never considered the elements that
enter into understanding and an acceptance of anything. The matter is
deeper than they realize, for it touches the very springs of human thought
and action. Therefore, the natural man says at once, "Why should I
receive Christ? Who is Christ? And why should he play a part in my life's
affairs? I do not believe in torment after death. And how can Christ make
my life more successful than it is?"
The lifting up of Jesus in the Millennial age will
doubtless overcome all such arguments. It will present the principles of
Jesus as the only desirable goal. They alone will insure success. If
they could be presented that way now, people would want Christ as their
life's partner. Those who have received the Lord and his precious truth
realize that truth runs in deep channels. The deeply operating laws of God
tell us that in the spiritual, as in the natural realm, to every action
there is an equal and opposite reaction. The waves of love that we send
out roll back upon our consciousness and make us more lovely than we were.
If we send out waves of jealousy, fear, or dislike, they react to our
injury. Thus we can never escape from ourselves. If we make friends of our
thoughts, words, and doing, we shall not need to effect such an escape,
since we already enjoy liberty in having the spirit of the Lord.
The spirit searcheth to find out how the laws of God
are operating in our lives. -- how God is dealing with us. That is, we
seek to learn the lessons God has for us in our experiences. That the
lesson is there, there can be no doubt. It may be a lesson of faith, as it
was with Peter when he got out of the boat. Or it may be a lesson of
meekness or of humility or of love. We may have to look below the surface
to see just what the lesson was intended to be.
is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus
Christ whom thou hast sent." What? Know God? Gain a knowledge of an
infinite being? Yes! But how? By gaining a heartwarming and heart filling
conception of the love of God. By realizing in our experiences as well as
through divine revelation that God is "too wise to err, too good to
be unkind. By searching the depths of the various manifestations of
Christ's Personal Appeal
When Jesus was on earth he called men to know him, to
follow him. He did not say, "Will you join my organization?"
For at first he had no organization to invite men to join. He did not
say to them, "Will you accept these views that I am
proclaiming?" For when he first invited men to follow him, he had as
yet proclaimed no views. He asked men to join him. He did not ask them to
join an institution; he did not ask them to believe in his opinions; he
asked men to join him and to believe in him. It was on the personal
relation to himself that he laid all the emphasis. Years passed. Christ's
organization began to develop. His views had been set before men and he
called them into his life. Even then he did not say to them, "I wish
you would join this fellowship of men; it is the only fellowship." He
still said to them, "Follow me." At the close of his teaching it
was still the thought of being personally united to him that he wanted to
have understood as the fundamental thought of his kingdom. "My
sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27).
It is worth noting that only Jesus Christ dares say:
"Follow me." No other founder of a great religion has based his
religion upon a personal following of himself. Confucianism, as a
religion, consists merely in a practice of maxims. Buddhism is a religion
of method. Mohammedanism is the religion of a book and of a formula.
Twelve hundred years ago Mohammed wrote it all down, never to be changed
while the centuries pass. The poet has written:
Does the spirit search this essence of Christ to
learn what it means? Surely it does. The spirit finds that Jesus
embodied all the grand things of life, the things that are good and true.
The follower of Christ acquires perfect confidence in him as the Way,
which he claimed to be.
Setting aside superficialities, and embracing Jesus
Christ in all his beauty, we arrive at a wellspring of the deep things
of God. At that crystal pure well of truth we are able to drink long and
deep -- if we will. Finding this great common center, we are drawn
together in common interests, in a unity of faith and love, which is a
foretaste of the wonderful joys we shall share together beyond the veil.
- W.A. Sargent.
is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations." -
There are several Old Testament terms used in
reference to the deity. A name or title is expressive of nature and
character. Each title of God may be regarded as one letter, complete
indeed in itself, yet, when arranged and combined together, spelling out
in full the one grand and wondrous name of the God of the Bible. We shall
list ten terms, giving the Hebrew and its English equivalent on the
authority of the Newberry Bible.
El (God, singular) occurs about two hundred and fifty
times, with the first occurrence in Genesis 14:18, 19, 20, 22 (translated "most high God"). The
word signifies "strong" or "first." It is the title
which shows God to be the mighty one, the First Great Cause of all.
The title is generally connected with some one or
more of the divine attributes or perfections such as:
(God, singular) from ahlah meaning,
to worship, to adore, presents God as the one supreme object of worship,
the adorable One. It occurs about fifty-six times; first in Deuteronomy 32:15: "Then he forsook Eloah, which
made him"; again, Deut. 32:17,
"They sacrificed to devils, not to Eloah." It is very
frequently used in the Book of Job.
Elah, or Elahah
The corresponding title to the Hebrew word eloah
is in the Chaldee language elah
(God, singular) or elahah (emphatic).
It is found in the Books of Ezra and Daniel seventy-seven times, and
always in the singular. The Chaldee portions of the Scriptures occur in
Ezra and Daniel, with one verse in Jeremiah 10:11. Thus the record of
Israel's captivity is inwrought in the sacred Word.
(God, plural of eloah) occurs
about twenty-five hundred times; first in Genesis 1:1. Though most
frequently referring to the All-mighty it is also used appropriately in
referring to angels (Ps. 8:5), to men (Gen. 23:6; Exod. 7:1; Exod.
22:28) and to saints (Ps. 82:6). This same word is also used nearly two
hundred times in referring to the false gods of the heathen. To these
latter also applies the Chaldee form elahhayah
in Jeremiah 10:11.
The words El
Shadday mean God Almighty, or God All-sufficient. This title combines
the singular title, el, with the
plural title shadday. It occurs
in combination "God Almighty" or "the Almighty God"
seven times, and alone, "the Almighty," forty-one times, and
chiefly in the Book of Job. Its first occurrence is in Genesis 17:1.
(Lord, singular), master, possessor, or proprietor. Occurring about
thirty times with the first in Exodus 23:17.
(Lord, plural), Lord, or Master. In this form used only as a divine
title; different from adonay, plural
of adon. adonahy occurs about
three hundred times, the first in Genesis 15:2, "And
Abraham said, Adonahy Jehovah.
(the Lord). This title occurs forty-nine times and only
in the Book of Exodus, Psalms, and Isaiah with the first occurrence in
Exodus 15:2. It is often associated with the words "praise ye"
in the word Hallelujah, "praise ye
Jah." It is evidently a contraction of the longer word Jehovah
and is occasionally found together with it, as in Isaiah 12:2 and 26:4. It
is a title expressive of eternal existence, the title of God, as
inhabiting eternity, to whom past, present, and future is one eternal now.
It is a sublime title; see Psalm 68:4, "... Extol
Him that rideth upon the heavens [or the void spaces of infinitude] by
his name Jah [the Eternal One], and
rejoice before him." The word for heavens here is not the usual word, but a word expressive of desolateness
-- space untenanted and void. Infinitude and eternity are indwelt by
him. The title Jah or Yah is at once one of the sublimest yet simplest of the divine
names. "The simplest form of speech which infant lips can cry,"
yet expressive of God's infinitude.
Ehyah Asher Ehyeh
Asher Ehyeh -- literally, ' I will be that I will be" (Exod. 3:14). But as the so-called
future or long tense expresses not simply the future, but also and
especially continuance, the force is, "I continue to be, and will be
what I continue to be, and will be." Ehyeh,
"I am," literally "I will be." But in force and
meaning, "I that ever will be"; "the Ever-existing
One." Here we have God's own explanation of his Holy Name to Moses at
the burning bush, which is translated in our Common Version, "I am
that I am." In this connection we quote Professor Bush from his
"Notes on Exodus:"
This title properly denotes the underived, eternal,
and unchangeable existence of the great Being to whom it is applied,
carrying in it also the implication that he, in distinction from all
others, is the one only true God, the God who really is, while all the
pretended deities of the Egyptian and other nations were a vanity, a
nonentity, a lie. It implies, moreover, as founded upon the immutability
of the divine nature, the certain and faithful performance of every
promise which he had uttered, so that whatever he had bound himself to do
for Abraham, for Isaac, and for Jacob, he pledges himself by the annunciation
of the august title to make the same good to their seed. "I
am that [which] I will be, and 1
will be that [which] I am; the
same yesterday, today, and forever."
-- These four consonants (to which scholars apply the
technical term -- tetragrammaton) form
the Hebrew "incommunicable name" of the Supreme Being. They are
variously written Ihvh, Jhvh, Jhwh, Yhuh, Yhwh. The Hebrew word, which
occurs about seven thousand times in the Old Testament, is rendered
"Jehovah" four times, "God" about eight hundred times,
"Lord" about sixty-eight hundred times, and seven times in
combination with some other word as Jehovah-Jireh
(Gen. 22:14), and elsewhere. It first occurs in connection with elohim
in Genesis 2:4, and is used first alone in Genesis 4:1,3. It is
explained in Exodus 3:14,15.
Out of superstitious reverence for this name, or
perhaps to safeguard the divine majesty in the minds of men and prevent
the inconsiderate mention of him before whom seraphs veil their faces --
whatever the motive -- both Jews and Christians have caused this name to
be almost completely suppressed by the substitution of other terms for
the deity. The name, in its four essential letters, was reverently
transcribed by the Hebrew copyist, and therefore was necessarily placed
before the eye of the Hebrew reader. The latter, however, was instructed
not to pronounce it, but to utter a less sacred name -- adonay
or elohim. The Septuagint
version made the concealment complete by regularly substituting kurios (Lord). The Vulgate, in like manner, employed dominus.
The sacred name was expressed in writing, as was the
custom among the Jews in earlier times, without any signs indicating the
vowels, simply by four consonants corresponding to our Yhwh. When vowel
signs were added to the consonantal text of the Hebrew Bible in the eighth
century A.D., as a means of preserving the traditional pronunciation of
the sacred literature, those of adonai
(my lord) were attached to the tetragrammaton as an indication that
the name was to be pronounced as though it were adonai,
or those of elohim (God)
were attached if an adonai preceded
it; but the Masorites (Hebrew scholars) did not intend that it should ever
be pronounced either Yehowah or Yehowih.
By a misunderstanding, medieval Christian scholars
combined the vowels of adonai with
the consonantal frame, thus producing the hybrid form Jehova, Iehovah. The
avoidance of the use of the original name led to the gradual loss of the
true pronunciation. Some scholars, among them the translator Rotherham,
have concluded that Yahweh most nearly corresponds to the original word.
This seems to be borne out by the pronunciation as it has come down to us
through the Samaritans, who seem to have continued longer than the Jews
to pronounce the holy name. Among other attempts to represent the
original word are Jahaveh, Jahvah, Jahve, Jahveh, Yahve, Yahveh, Yahwe.
Although both the pronunciation and full meaning of
this sacred name are unknown, from the explanations given in Exodus
3:14,15 and 34:6 it would appear that the God of the patriarchs in
revealing himself to Moses under this awe-inspiring appellation, did so in
order to reveal himself as the unchangeable, ever-existing Deity. He is a
God of promises, a covenant keeping God -- One who will cause all his
will to be done. His name, Yahweh, was also to be the everlasting
memorial of his changeless character. "This is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all
generations" (Exod. 3:15). See also Hosea 12:5 and Psalm
This is the God of both houses of Israel, fleshly and
spiritual. And though the contemptuous words of Pharaoh of old, "Who
is Yahweh, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go?" (Exod.
5:2) may be repeated in the conduct of present-day earthly rulers, the
Arm of the Lord will again be made bare in the astonishing deliverance
of his people, which will mean the deliverance of the world. Then shall be
sung the song of thanksgiving recorded in Isaiah 12.
And the Lord [Yahweh]
shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord [Yahweh],
and his name one (Zech. 14:9).
- W.J. Siekman
"For we which have believed do enter into rest." - Hebrews
In the fourth chapter, St. Paul outlines to the
Hebrews that the Jewish rest days and years pointed forward to the
Christian's rest in God. Natural Israel had experienced these rests:
-- A seventh day of rest for man and beast
-- A seventh year of rest for the land
-- A forty-ninth year specially marked for rest
-- A fiftieth year -- the Jubilee -- a Sabbath or
The forty-ninth year was typical of the Millennium,
which is the seventh one thousand year period of the last
seven-thousand-year day of the creative week.
The Jubilee (which followed the forty-ninth year)
was the time of beginning again. Each family went back to the homestead
that had been apportioned to it when Israel entered the promised land.
If misfortune, improvidence, or sickness had caused the sale of the
land, it was returned to the original possessors, debts were canceled.
Israel began living over again. This fiftieth jubilee year typified the
grand jubilee period following the Millennial reign of Jesus. We have said
that the Jew had these rest
periods, but history shows that actually very few of the Sabbaths were kept in accord with the Law's requirements.
The Jew had been told "You only have I known of all the families of the earth...." (Amos
3:2). One would think that they would have been glad to have God work his
purposes in Judah; that after slipping away from him, only a little
reminder (by way of chastisement) would bring them into cooperation with
God, to the restful condition of trusting in and obeying him. Each of us,
no doubt, has marveled that the Jews were so stiffnecked, not heeding
the Prophets, and after the repeated punishments (in the form of
captivities, plagues, and crop failures) not to heed Jesus, who had been
sent to them by the Heavenly Father.
Evidently, Jesus had entertained similar thoughts. We
particularly note the parable of the householder (Matt. 21:33-41). The
immediate lesson was that Israel was the vineyard, set up with great
demonstrations of divine power in Canaan. The land's former inhabitants
had been dispossessed. Nothing was left undone to enable Israel to keep
the Law, to faithfully perform the typical sacrifices, and other
features of the ceremonial law, and to bring forth the fruits of rest in
God. But those who sat in Moses' seat in charge of Israel used their
positions for gain and aggrandizement. It was they who persecuted
Jeremiah. It was they who killed Jesus by their conspiracies.
The Jew was not content as a small nation ruled over
by prophets, but demanded a king. The Jew could not bring himself to let
the land lie idle each seventh year. Because of their greed they would not
tithe the tenth part of their increase to God. The temple sacrifices were
considered wasteful. Finally, to give back lands and to cancel debts each
fiftieth year required too much of the Jew.
St. Paul says in the fourth chapter of Hebrews that
some must enter into God's rest, (vs. 6) and since the Jews would not,
then "... we which have
believed do enter into rest" (vs.2). In Genesis 2:2,3, after the
creation of the earth, the animals, and finally Adam and Eve, God rested
from all his work which He had created and made. Scripture
Studies, VoI.VI, Chapter 1, has shown good reason to believe that the
first six days of the Creative Week were
each seven thousand years long, and that the seventh is also seven
thousand years in duration. This seventh day started after the creation
of Adam and Eve. It will continue until the end of the Millennial reign of
Christ. God has been resting "from
all his works" during the reign of sin and death. This,
therefore, is the "rest of God" to which the saints are invited.
The Rest of Faith Is Bliss
In Romans, chapter eleven, St. Paul says that if the
natural olive branches (the Jews) were broken off through unbelief, it
would also be easy for the wild olive branches (the gentiles -- who were
grafted in to take the place of the cast-off Jew) to be broken off. Again
in Hebrews (Heb. 4:11), he says: "Let
us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the
same example of unbelief. "
God's rest has not been a rest of inactivity. Neither
is our rest in God to be a lazy man's rest. It takes vigilance, careful
planning, and agonizing labor to enter into God's rest. It is not easy for
the Christian to deny himself, to stop doing his own work, destroy his
natural ambitions, and instead to work the works of him that called us out
of darkness into his marvelous light. Satan is always at hand to aid our
flesh and the world in ensnaring us into a denial of our consecration.
In all the arrangements given them by God, the Jew
was an example (or a "type") for our instruction. In his falling
away, his unbelief, his willfulness, he illustrated the history of the
Gospel church. We even find that
the casting away of the Jewish nation is representative, for in it we
see how all organizations which have claimed to speak for God are also
cast off (see 1 Cor. 10:1-14).
In the church we see a mirror of the hectic
conditions which prevail in the world. Are the sparks of worldly conflagration
falling in our backyards? Are we forced into quarrelsomeness toward one
another by worldly-mindedness? Do we lose our rest in the Lord? If so,
let us heed Psalm 116:7:
Various church spokesmen call for more and greater
works. Is this our inheritance of the Jewish longings for power and
greatness? Have we forgotten Jesus' words, "Fear
not little flock, it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the
We need no feverish excitement of work. Let us do
with our might what our hands find to do, but still resting in faith. If the servants are not sealed in their foreheads,
the winds of trouble will be held back until this has been accomplished
(Rev. 7:1-4). As new creatures we have ceased from our works as God did
from his. The church is not our church
or yours, nor anyone's but God's. This preaching of the gospel is God's work. So
we should lay down our lives for the brethren, and leave the results with
God. We should "preach the
word. Be instant in season and out of season," and yet be in that
peaceful, restful, and hopeful attitude of heart -- resting
Rest implies dependence. When we rest physically, we
relax all our muscles and rely upon something or someone. Standing
erect illustrates self-sufficiency and the opposite of rest. Standing is
accomplished by opposing muscles pulling the bony framework of the body.
One set in the frontal portion pulls the body forward. Another set of
muscles in the posterior portion pulls the bony structure backward. By the
tension of the two the body is balanced from within from front to back.
Similar muscles on the right and left side keep the body from falling sidewise.
A portion of the brain is devoted to keeping us in balance. So perfect is
the organism that no thought is required. We usually lie horizontally
when we rest. We depend on a bed, spring, and mattress to keep us from
falling. So it is with the Christian, we must depend upon God to fight our
battles: to work his work in us: to bring order out of chaos in the world
and in the church.
Confidence and Rejoicing
When the children of Ammon, Moab, and Mt. Seir allied
themselves and invaded Judah (2 Chron. 20), a Levite named Jahaziel
relayed this message to Jehoshaphat:
"Do not be afraid or dismayed because of this
great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God's. Tomorrow you will
find the invader by the cliff of Ziz, at the end of the brook, before the
wilderness of Jeruel. You shall not need to fight; set yourselves, stand
still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you."
Here we finally find an instance where the leaders of
Israel entered into God's rest. Jehoshaphat believed the message and
organized the people into great choral groups to march before the army,
singing and praising as they went.
Military leaders know the inspiring effect upon their
men and the terrifying effect upon the enemy of a singing army.
Possibly, the Jews were above the clouds in the hills, and the invaders
were coming up the side of the cliff of Ziz through a fog. Imagine the invaders
hearing a great company of men singing a stirring song as they marched,
The hills take up the echoes and reverberate the
thunder of their intonations. Imagine the invaders reaction: Judah's
arrogance in putting aside all thoughts of concealment and surprise; their
utter carelessness in not waiting behind entrenchments, walls, or rivers
for the invaders to attack. This apparent lack of strategy may have
suggested to the invaders a confidence on the part of the Jews which
struck terror to Israel's enemies and disorganized them.
Regardless of what natural means may have been used,
the account says, "And when
they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushments against Ammon,
Moab, and Mt. Seir, . . . and they were smitten." Then is
described how the three allied armies turned on each other and destroyed
themselves. The end of the account is, "So
the Kingdom of Jehoshaphat had repose and God gave him rest all round
about." Jehoshaphat had to go out to meet the enemy. Judah had to
exercise faith and trust in God. Had they stayed in Jerusalem, no
ambushments would have smitten the invaders. If they had not sung, the
enemy would not have fought one another in their confusion. So we must
step out on God's promises and labor to enter into his rest, if we would
have God fight our battles.
Friends, let us "begin
to sing and praise" and let the Lord fight our battles for us,
while we rest in Faith.
- B.F. Hollister
shalt follow me afterwards." - John 13:36
Let us go back to that upper room at Jerusalem some
nineteen hundred and fifty years ago. The last supper had been partaken of
and Jesus had performed an act of humility; and in that act he had
furnished a great example of perfect love, which, in its lowliness and
dignity, could hardly be surpassed. After a few words, his heart being
burdened with a great sorrow, he revealed that one of his disciples
was to betray him. The traitor left to do his master's work, for, as we
read, "Satan entered into him" (John 13:27).
Realizing that the shades of darkness were fast
enveloping him and that his time of personal service to his brethren was
nearly over, Jesus speaks to his disciples in words which have no equal in
all literature, words in which love is stressed to its furthest
He knew that after he had gone they would be
scattered, and, having doubts and fears, would be subject to trials,
temptations, and tests of faith. He knew their need of further light and
of power. And so he speaks to them of love, hope, and faith; words in
which is included the promise of a place with him in his Kingdom. From his
gracious lips came words which, in their power and spirit, would eventually
rock the world's foundations.
In chapters 13 to 17 of John, Jesus' unspeakable
love, his desire, and sanctification are revealed. Those humble men were
endeared to this great heart of love, and now Jesus consoles, comforts,
and exhorts them with a love that has no equal. O, what comfort and
encouragement have been had from his words:
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God,
believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not
so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go
and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto
myself; that where I am, there ye may be also (John 14:1-3).
He spoke of sorrow, but he also spoke of joy and
peace, which can be had only through the unity of the spirit. This he
explained in his perfect illustration of the vine and its branches. "I
am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the
same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing" (John
Love's Deepest Revelation
Love assumes its deepest form as those dear eyes look
upon the bewildered and wondering disciples. Peter -- the indomitable
Peter -- is anxious to know more about his Master's abode. He was
undoubtedly concerned about the words, "Whither
I go, thou canst not follow me now." He had learned to love this
homeless, almost friendless man, who, notwithstanding his sinless life
and gracious deeds,- was "despised
and rejected of men, a man of
sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Isa. 53:3). So, perhaps
with frustration in his voice, Peter asks, "Lord,
whither goest thou?"
The Master does not fully answer Peter's question. "Whither
I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me
afterwards." Peter reveals his nature in his reply: "Lord,
why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake."
He was yet to learn a far greater power than he yet possessed. This
would be essential to that "following" of which he speaks in 1
Even now it would seem that many who profess to
follow his steps lack the incentive which only the Holy Spirit can give.
Like Peter, when the test comes, the power unto victory is not their's.
How glad we are to know that, while the Lord is thus denied, the same love
and grace which uplifted Peter after his denial is available to all who,
in the spirit of humility and contrition, will yield to the influence of
divine spiritual power! In gracious love our lives are extended and every
means provided for all that God's love entails in us, both for this
present life and "afterwards."
Afterwards! What a joyful theme. Perhaps there is no
reference to this word that brings greater hope and joy to the believer
than that of Psalm 73:24: "Thou
shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory." Afterward!
But what about the meantime? -- What was to precede this promise which was
only to be theirs "afterwards" ?
Through the stillness of the evening shadows the
Master's words seem to gain added force: "He
that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of
me." We slowly learn what is entailed in cross bearing and
following in his steps. Each day added light is shed on our pathway, and
experiences come which test the genuineness of our hearts when we sing
or repeat -
Brave words! But how do they work out in practice,
for practiced Christianity is the only kind that has value. Jesus said, "If
ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them" (John 13:17).
The inference is plainly seen. As we examine ourselves we realize only too
well that sin is ever present, within and without. 1 John 1:8 and Romans
8:7 suggest that sin is always at hand to thwart our efforts toward a
fully consecrated, sanctified life. Our Lord and his apostles were
subject to temptations and met such temptations with a "thus
saith the Lord," or a refusal to bend to them (Luke 4:1-13; 1 Cor.
Discipleship has always been a test of obedience. Not
that we earn salvation by our obedience, for Paul shows plainly that our
salvation is of grace, abounding grace (Rom. 5:15). And while this is so,
all recipients of divine grace are required to follow a well defined
process. This is clearly stated in John 17:15-23 and Romans 12:1,2,21.
Obedience is the fruit of faith, and John speaks very
emphatically with respect to sin: "All
unrighteousness is sin" (1 John 5:17). Righteousness, imputed and
imparted -- as this is seen in us -- may well be one of the greatest tests
of discipleship; for if we abide in Christ, if the love of God dwell in
us, our thoughts, words, purposes and actions will be in harmony with
the will of God as that will is expressed in his Word. Righteousness can
be defined only by the divine standard as we find it in Holy Writ. Jesus
kept the commandments (Matt. 5:17-20), and if we follow in his steps, we
will do likewise. "Hereby we do
know that we know him, if we keep his commandments" (1
John 2:3-6; 1 Pet. 2:21).
One Condition For Life
The pre-requisite for eternal life remains forever
the same: perfect obedience to God, perfect righteousness. This is not
difficult to understand. If life were granted on any other condition,
the happiness of all would be in danger. Adam failed to obey God's
righteous law, and because of his sin our "natures" are fallen.
We are unable to make ourselves righteous, for, being sinful and unholy,
we cannot perfectly obey a holy law. But, a God of love has opened up "a
new and living way" through the accepted merit of his dear Son,
Jesus Christ (Heb. 10:20). He lived a sinless life, he died for us, and
now, praise God, "... the blood
of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin" (I John 1:7). We are
justified by faith in him; his righteousness is imputed to us, and we
are thus made acceptable unto the Father as though we were sinless! Truly,
wondrous love and grace!
And then a new era dawns upon our lives! We leave
behind the old carnal desires; the things we once loved, we now hate, and
our affections are bent upward. We can say with Paul, "The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the
Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Gal. 2:20).
If Christ has his abode in our hearts, we will
manifest his spirit in our life and we will do works of righteousness and
obedience. We have nothing of which to boast. Our only basis for hope is
in Christ's imputed righteousness and that which is wrought by his
spirit working in and through us. Some may feel that their imperfections
are beyond removal and may perhaps doubt about their standing before their
Lord and Savior. To any such we would say, do not give way to the
Adversary's taunts. If we are overcome, we are not yet cast off, not forsaken
or rejected of God. Recall the precious promises, especially such as
Isaiah 41:10: "Fear thou not;
for 1 am with thee." Reach out in living faith and say with Paul,
"It is Christ that died, yea
rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who
also maketh intercession for us" (Rom. 8:34).
Blessed Recognition of Our Sins
As we come closer to Jesus, our own weaknesses and
faults appear ,more in contrast with his purity and perfection. This,
however, may be good, for by it we see that the spirit is effectively
working within us. No deep seated
love for Jesus can dwell in the heart that fails to realize its innate sinfulness.
The one who is being transformed by the love and grace of Christ
will, of a sureness, admire his beauty and excellence, but if such a one
does not see his or her own moral weaknesses, it is an unmistakable
evidence that the perfection and glory of Jesus Christ has not been fully
One has said that:
"The less we see to esteem in ourselves, the
more we shall see to esteem in the infinite purity and loveliness of our
Savior. A view of our own sinfulness drives us to him who can pardon, and
when the soul, realizing its helplessness, reaches out after Christ, he
will reveal himself in power. The more our sense of need drives us to him
and to the Word of God, the more exalted views we shall have of his character,
and the more fully we shall reflect his image."
The followers of Jesus share some of his experiences:
"The disciple is not above his
Master, nor the servant above his lord" (Matt. 10:24). Those
words imply a life in which negative forces will have their place and
part. Not all sunshine, nor yet all shade, but all things working together
to the desired end, "... that
ye may be perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is
perfect" (Matt. 5:48). The same mighty power which enabled Jesus
to live a pure, holy life is available to us. We do not see what lies in
the upward path, nor can we always see the purpose of life's tangled maze,
but "in the afterwards" we
shall praise God for all that has, in any way or measure, been to us a
means of grace.
An Attainable Goal
To so live that each day finds in us a greater
purpose, a more ardent desire, and an increasing effort concerning the
things of God and our eternal salvation -- this must be the one concentrated
object governing our lives.
As workers together with God (2 Cor. 6:1) we are to
go forward in faith (James 1:6), redeeming the time (Eph. 5:16), walking
in the light (1 John 1:7), patient in tribulatior (Rom. 12:12), watching
and praying (Matt. 26:41), in short, being steadfast in the faith (1 Pet.
5:9), and thereby "growing in
grace and in the know] edge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2
Pet. 3:18). To possess the same knowledge of him (Phil. 3:10) a: did Paul
-- this must be our daily purpose, our contemplation, and our joy.
Yes, we are to be rejoicing Christians. Can we not look back and see the innumerable
evidences of God's love and care over us? His promises and his provision
for our every need have never failed; his mercy and grace have ever been
manifest; and we remember David's words: "Let
all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy
salvation say continually, the Lord be magnified" (Ps. 40:16). We
have every cause to be "magnified" in the Lord. Christians are
not to be fearful and repining. We are to be cheerful and by a confident
trust reveal something of the Master's serenity and excellence of peace
Jesus was nearing the end. He spoke things which
related to his peace, his joy, and his victory. He desires that his
disciples shall have those things. He holds out before them (and us) a
fullness of joy which is, by far, too rare; for even here and now we may
possess a joy which in its scope shall yield a foretaste of the more
enduring joy of the afterwards. And so we say, let us be rejoicing in
hope; patient in tribulation; instant in prayer (see Rom. 12:12).
Prayer is mighty. It is one of our greatest means of
grace. In prayer, heaven and earth are close together, and as the believer
reaches out with this mighty arm of prayer and faith, the heart can and
will find a peace and rest beyond the reach of any evil source. Let none
be indifferent to this privilege of prayer. Note Jesus' words that:
"... men ought always to
pray..." (Luke 18:1). Paul says, "Praying
always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching
thereunto with all perseverance" (Eph. 6:18). Praying with the
spirit, and with the understanding also (see 1 Cor. 14:15).
"We need to praise God 'for his goodness and his wonderful works to the children of men' (Ps.
107:15). Our devotional exercises should not consist wholly in asking and
receiving. Let us not always be thinking of our wants, and little of the
daily benefits we receive. We do not pray any too much, and we are too
sparing in giving thanks. We are the constant recipients of God's
"Yet how little gratitude we express -- how
little we praise him for what he has done for us. He desires us to worship
him, to take pleasure and comfort in his service: He desires that -- in
the unity of his spirit with ours -- we shall enter into a fuller and
richer life .... The soul may ascend nearer heaven on wings of praise. God
is worshiped with song and music in the courts above, and as we express
our gratitude, we are approximating the worship of the heavenly
offereth praise glorifieth" God (Ps. 50:23). Let us
with reverent joy come before our Creator with "thanksgiving and the voice of melody" (Isa. 51:3).
The years pass, the shadows of sin and unbelief which
are falling upon the world are profoundly revealing; they speak to the end
of the age in which we live. The attainment of our hope is near at hand.
The "afterwards" is assuming its shape. As yet, we do not know
what shall be in the "afterwards," but we are assured that it
will hold for us blessings and transcendent joys, far beyond our most
sanguine hopes (1 Cor. 2:9). Those hopes will mature if we follow the
Master all the way. If the spirit has free rule, we shall be more and more
conformed to his image and, "as
we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the
heavenly" (1 Cor. 15:49).
Soon life's day will end. But oh, the
"afterwards"! What joys are to be ours when our change comes! No
more sorrow, pain, tears, partings, and no more death! Such is the vista
which lies in the "afterwards." Love -- gracious, redeeming love
-- shall wipe the tear from every eye; grace -- unbounded grace -- shall
be at the disposal of all; faith will have been largely lost in sight, as
our risen and glorified Lord, (along with his saints) assumes his rightful
place as the "King of
kings," "The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of
Peace." Then, in the glorious light of an endless day, we shall
find no greater joy than that in which the Father and Son are magnified.
Forever, freed from the limitations of the flesh and its unrighteous
tendencies, and "clothed with righteousness" (Ps. 132:9), we shall be like
him; for we shall see him as he is:
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed
upon us that we should be called the sons of God:.... Beloved, now are we
the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know
that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as
he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure (1 John 3:1-3).
Let us remember that the church of God has suffered
more from weak, wavering, and compromising adherents than from any other
cause. Let us not forget that many of God's victories have been
accomplished by small numbers and that God "... is
able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all
sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (2 Cor.
And now, what remains? A measure of the things to
which flesh is heir? Yes. Tests and trials? Yes. But, thank God, in all
these things we are made more than conquerors through him that loved us
(Rom. 8:37). "Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow
me afterwards" (John 13:36).
thoughts return to those with which this meditation
began -- the scene in the upper room just prior to the betrayal of Jesus.
The master has opened his heart to his disciples; his closing words are
words of hope and words of cheer: "These
things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the
world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer: I have overcome the
world" (John 16:33). Next follows a prayer, a prayer in which love for his Father and
for his followers is the theme. Who shall say what pain and sorrow were
under control as those gracious words of prayer ascended to his Father's
"Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that
thy Son also may glorify thee:.... I have finished the work which thou
gayest me to do.... I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou
gayest me out of the world:.... I have given them thy word; .... Sanctify
them through thy truth: thy word is truth.... for their sakes I sanctify
myself.... Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall
believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou
Father, art in me, and I in thee,... Father, I will that they also, whom
thou has t given me, be with me where I am; ... O righteous Father, the
world bath not known thee; but I have known thee, and these have known
that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will
declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them,
and I in them" (excerpted from John 17).
Love Beyond Compare!
And so, Christ commends his followers to the
Father. As a consecrated high priest he intercedes for his brethren. As
a faithful shepherd, he gathers his flock, the everlasting arms underneath,
and urges confidence and trust. He
was soon to suffer and to die for all mankind, for you and for me. But
afterwards! "Love divine, all love excelling." Yes, and so we
- W. Wainwright
God glories in the appellation that he is the Father
of mercies, the God of all comfort. Therefore, to minister in those
offices is to become like God; to imitate the charities of heaven. God has
fitted mankind for this office; men feel their brother's wants by their
God has given us speech, the pleasures of society,
and pleasant conversation in order to reduce our sorrows, to provide us
with periods of comfort, of excitement, of hope, and of the reciting of
his promises that we may become instruments of virtue. It is certain that
as nothing can do it better, so there is nothing greater for which God
made our tongues (next to reciting his praises), than to minister comfort
to a weary heart.
What pleasure we have to bring joy to our brother,
who with dreary eyes looks to heaven and cannot find so much rest as to
let his eyelids close. Our tongue should be tuned with heavenly accents,
and make the weary heart listen for light and ease. And to help another
perceive that there is such a thing in the world as comfort and joy. To
help them break out from the prison of sorrows, and little by little melt
into showers and refreshment. This is glory to our voice and employment
fit for the brightest angel.
I have seen the sun kiss the frozen earth, which was
bound up with images of death and the cold breath of the north. The waters
break from their enclosures, and melt with joy.... So is the heart of a
sorrowful man under the influence of a wise comforter. He breaks the
despairs of the grave; the fetters and chains of sorrow. He blesses God.
He blesses man. He feels life return; for to be miserable is death.
Nothing is life but to be comforted and God is never so pleased as in the
thanksgiving songs of relieved widows, of supported orphans, of rejoicing,
comforted, and thankful man.
- Jeremy Taylor
The Annual Meeting of the Pastoral Bible Institute,
Inc., is scheduled to be held (D.V.) on Saturday, June 7, 1986, at 11:00
a.m., at 4454 S. 14th Street, Suite, #2 Milwaukee, WI 53221. Brethren
needing travel directions or airport pick-up should call our regular phone
number: (414) 282 -1076.
Only members of the Institute may vote (in person or
by proxy), but all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ and his appearing
are welcome to attend.
A report of the Institute's activities during the
preceding year will be given, and an election of directors to serve during
the coming year will be conducted. Opportunity will be given for such
other matters as may properly come before the meeting.
These brethren, now serving as directors, are
candidates for re-election, viz.: J.L. Buss, A. Gonczewski, A. Jarmola,
P.J. Pazucha, L. Petran, and J.B. Webster. Br. H.C. Hogrebe has resigned
his position on the board due to health and other considerations. Also
nominated as director is: L.R. Webster.